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If it came down to the point that, for instance, the U.S. Attorney would say fine, but we would like documentation, or if you are making a specific recommendation, this has to come in form of writing from a Regional Director.
But up until that level, the Group Supervisor, or supervising agent, has the responsibility and freedom to evaluate the information and determine the situation with a potential in
formant (pp. 677–679). The manner in which Peroff was released from jail was also described by Dos Santos under questioning from Manuel. It went like this:
MANUEL. Is is not a fact that when you effected his release from the Queens County jail, you instructed him [Peroff] as a condition of his release that he must be cooperative!
Dos SANTOS. That is correct.
MANUEL. Did you do that on your own authority, Mr.
Dos SANTOS, I think largely there was very little input
MANUEL. Is that what happened in this case?
MANUEL. If someone calls the White House everyone starts
Dos Santos. Well, I will tell you. I don't think anybody likes to take any heat. Apparently I felt that very little decision making was being effected by anybody other than myself. That is why I say from what I can recall it seems to me that
I largely took it upon myself to effect his release (pp. 437,438). O'Neill, on the other hand, remembered himself being right in the middle of the decision-making regarding Peroff's release from jail. O'Neill told Senators:
I instructed Dos Santos to go to the Queens House of Detention to talk to Peroff to see if he did want to cooperate again. I also, it is my recollection, asked him to find ont what Peroff was interested in, would he go to Canada. We did not make any decision to send Peroff to Canada until we had checked to the Canadians to see if they wanted him to come to Canada. The first part of the thing was to find out would he go to Canada. The second part was after we found out would he go then would the Canadians want him. Once we found out that the Canadians did want him, we asked him if he would go. Ile said yes. So on July 27 or 27th he went to Montreal.
The second part of whose decision was it to go to Canada? It was a decision that the Canadians made with our talking to them about it (p. 611).
PEROFF WARRANTS WERE NOT VALID
The Subcommittee staff examined the procedures followed in issuing the two warrants that led to the arrest of Frank Peroff. The staff found that the warrants were not valid and should not have been
in the first place. In addition, the warrant against Mrs. Peroff was also found to be invalid.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), a state agency, has since rescinded all three warrants and the Peroffs are free of any warrants in Florida.
The two warrants against Peroff were in connection with two worthless checks he was alleged to have written in March of 1972. Subcommittee inquiry established that the worthless check allegations stemmed from a civil suit in which Peroff and two other businessmen were contesting the interpretation of a contract. In disputing the terms of the contract, Peroff stopped payment on one check and, on the other, provided for insufficient funds in his bank account the note was
Neither of the two businessmen involved in the dispute with Peroff signed complaints against him in connection with the two checks. The disagreement was subject to civil litigation and as late as February of 1974 was not resolved.
The decision to issue the warrants, then, was made by agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on their own initiative and was not based on any alleged criminal violation by Peroff. What, in effect, occurred was that agents of a state police agency, on their own initiative and in the absence of a formal complaint, alleged criminal behavior when, in fact, the matter was a contractural dispute subject to civil arbitration.
Regarding Mrs. Peroff, Subcommittee staff interviewed William Austin, a builder in Orlando and the person who alleged to authorities that Mrs. Peroff stole draperies from the home the Peroffs were renting from him.
In an affidavit given to Subcommittee Investigators William Gibney and William Gallinaro, Austin said he had falsely charged Mrs. Peroff with the theft of the draperies and that he had lone so because he was under pressure from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to take such action.
The Subcommittee staff found that all three warrants against the Peroff's were associated with an investigation by the FDLE of Frank Peroff to identify him as a figure in organized crime in 1972.
The Subcommittee staff also found in its investigation of the validity of the Peroff warrants that no federal agency ever checked with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine the facts behind the issuance of the warrants or to determine what facts were available on Peroff and his activities prior to April of 1972.
In fact, the staff investigation into these matters revealed that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement did possess a substantial amount of information on Peroff, his associates and activities, which would have been beneficial to federal authorities who subsequently dealt with Frank Peroff.
XI. THE BOUCHARD INQUIRY COLLAPSES
FRANK PEROFF-_"COOPERATING INDIVIDUAL"
Richard Dos Santos, working out an arrangement with the Queens County District Attorney's Office, got Frank Peroff out of jail July 25, 1973. On July 26, Peroff' was given a DEA code number, SC1-3-0149, and a title. No longer a Customs Service or BNDD confidential informant, Peroff was now, in DEA terminology, a "cooperating indiridual." This was Peroff's first official designation with the Drug Enforcement Administration and it came 20 days after Peroff first informed the DEA of the possible involvement of Vesco and LeBlanc in the ongoing heroin inquiry.
The papers giving him this new identification were entitled "Establishment of Frank Peroff as a cooperating individual.” They are dated July 26, 1973. The Subcommittee obtained a copy of this report and it tas made part of the hearing record. Signed by Richard Dos Santos, the document noted that:
... Peroff has been established as a Class 1 cooperating individual, supervisory authority for his utilization being approved by Group Supervisor John J. O'Neill as per Section
No. 6612.1 of the Agents Manual. Under the category of "motivation"- that is, Peroff's reason for being a cooperating individual-Dos Santos wrote that Peroff had been jobless for the past five months, was out of mony and did not wish to return to a life of crime out of regard for his family.
John J. O'Neill told Senators that he did not consider Peroff to be a good informant (p. 625). Ile said Peroff was given the designation of cooperating individual merely for the purpose of enabling DEA to pay Peroff (p. 626).
But, according to DEA Administrator John R. Bartels, Jr., all Peroff was ever paid by DE I was $50 and that was nine days before July 26, on July 17, and the money was not meant to be payment but to reimburse Normand Chabot for the use of his telephone in Puerto Rico (p. 467).
Subcommittee Investigator Manuel, therefore, pressed the question of why did DEA give cooperating individual status to Peroff. Manuel asked, if the purpose of the new identification was to pay Peroff, what did DEA ever pay Peroff?
O'Neill replied, “For him to travel from Puerto Rico to New York and give him $50." Then O'Neill added:
If I would have known that there was an informant number in Paris on him we would have used that mumber for him to travel. But we couldn't get that number. So we had to do it that way (p. 626).
This assertion by O'Neill was an unexpected development in the Subcommittee's investigation. O'Neill seemed to be saying that as late as July 26, 1973, DEA had no knowledge of Peroff's undercover work in Paris for BNDD and Customs in the Solarik-Silverman case.
Manuel asked O'Neill if he had any information at all at the timeJuly 26—that seven months before Peroff had been a BNDD and Customs informant in Paris. O'Neill said he knew nothing of Peroff's informant activities in Paris (p. 626). According to the hearing transcript, Manuel asked O'Neill:
You didn't know anything about him [Peroff] being established as an informant in Paris! “No,” O'Neill replied in a one-word answer (p. 626).
This response conflicted with O'Neill's own statement in the DEACustoms inquiry in which he said under oath that while Peroff was in jail that he, O'Neill, told Dos Santos to go to the Queens County District Attorney's Office and let the prosecutors know of "Peroff's cooperation in the past with Customs and BNDD in Paris ..
Thus, O'Neill found himself in the position of saying in one sworn statement (in the DEA-Customs inquiry) that during the July 22-25 period he knew about Peroff's Paris work; while saying in a second sworn statement (before the Investigations Subcommittee) that as of July 26 he knew nothing of Peroff's Paris work. Only one of the statements can be true.
Under further questioning, O'Neill said Peroff was made a cooperating individual so that DEA could “pay him for the trip from Puerto Rico and for anything that would happen in Canada." (P. 626.)
O'Neill said another reason Peroff was given cooperating individual status was that his imprisonment in the Queens County jail had taught him the advantages of cooperating with DEA. Now, a free man again, Peroff would do as he was told, O'Neill said. O'Neill testified:
The fact that he was arrested, one of the reasons to arrest him was make him an informant to make him come over to our side. The old story: There is nobody that is an informant that
wants to stay in jail (p. 628). There was another factor emphasizing the inconsistency of O'Neill saying that as of July 26 he did not know of Peroff's informant work in Paris. It was language from the July 26 document itself which said:
Peroff has provided detailed information in Paris, France that led to the arrest of Solarik and Silverman in Paris on February 9, 1973 in possession of ten (10) kilograms of heroin.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS IN THE JULY 26 DOCUMENT
Manuel said that his recollection of a previous interview with O'Neill was that O'Neill had explained that the July 26 cooperating individual status was conferred on Peroff at the request of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. ('Neill denied that he ever made such a statement (p. 627).